Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TransAtlantic Sailings and Airfares South of the Border Go On Sale

Not everyone's on vacation this week. The folks at Cunard, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Virgin America have been busy posting pretty remarkable sales for fall and winter travel. Here's the scoop:
The Queen Mary 2 (Photo by Dawn Endico)

Remarkable rates on Transatlantic Cruises:When the Queen Mary 2 debuted last year, it was hailed as the ship that would bring back old-time glamor and elegance to cruising. The QM2, the first in 35 years to be custom-designed for Transatlantic sails, featured dazzling restaurants, serious educational programs, an overstuffed library and other fine amenities designed to keep passengers happy for long sea voyages. Prices were high, but that's what most people expected for an experience this upscale.

Or that's what people expected last year. And in this fast-paced travel world, a cruise ship can become yesterday's news in less than a year. How else to explain the remarkable prices being charged on 4 transatlantic sailings this fall, between New York City and Southhampton, England (and vice-versa)? On these 7-night/8-day sailings (Oct 1 and 12 and Nov 1 and 10) the rate on inside cabins have dropped to a remarkable $699. On certain dates, outside cabins are plunging to $749.

This is a "Flash Sale" which means it could be gone soon. I've seen these prices listed at the following sites: CruiseMaven, Vacations to Go, and Online Vacation Center though other cruise brokers may have it as well.

For a less splashy ship, but at even lower rates, there's the remarkable repositioning cruise of the Norwegian Gem on Oct 30. It will be sailing from Venice to New York, making stops along the way at several Spanish and Portuguese ports. The 14-day voyage is being discounted to just $499 (!), or just $35 a day, through some of the agencies above and others.

New Low Airfares to Mexico:

Timing is everything and today, with news that a bar in Cancun was hit by a molotov cocktail, the timing couldn't be worse. Nonetheless, if you're determined to go to Mexico in early 2011, now that Mexicana Airlines is gone, Virgin Atlantic may be your best bet. Its holding a 3-day sale in honor of its new service from both San Francisco and LA to either Cancun or Cabo, with prices starting at just $129 each way.

Virgin has also entered into a partnership with the app developer Loopt and for its users, who call today between 11am and 3pm, it will give away one free companion ticket for every one purchased on those routes.

The sale doesn't stop with Mexico. Virgin's discounting other city pairs, too, though tickets must be purchased by end of day on Sept 2. Go to www.virginamerica.com for more information.

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